Weekly Weigh-In + Meal Ideas

6 days to go on Bikini Body Countdown!

Hello world!  It’s that time again – time for my weekly weigh in, with only 1 more week to go before we leave for Hawaii!  I was so excited to see 132 on the scale this morning!  After literally 16 years of yo-yo dieting, I can’t believe I’ve finally solved the weight-loss puzzle without really feeling like I’m dieting.   Thanks to Cinch for my diet guidance, and my husband for his intense work-outs!  Just 2 more pounds to go until I reach my goal weight, and then, who knows?  I’m not sure how much I actually have to lose to reach my ideal weight, so I figure I’ll just keep eating healthy and working out and my weight will end up wherever.

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I’m a little behind on my blogs this week, but I’ve taken lots of pictures of quick, Cinch-approved recipes.  First up, breakfast!  I’ve learned to love Pumpernickel bread.  Supposedly it’s the healthiest type of bread you can eat and very low on the glycemic index, meaning it will be released into the bloodstream very slowly, resulting in lasting energy rather than a quick burst.  So several of my recipes this past week have included this dark bread with a distinct rye-flavor.  I even tried it at breakfast, toasted with a little light cream cheese and honey, along with and egg and glass of carrot juice.  It was actually really good, so I ended up having it several times!

Next, I tried it as a sandwich, both times layering the bread, 0% plain greek yogurt (in place of mayo), cucumber slices, spinach, and a little pepper-jack cheese.  Once again, I was pleasantly surprised how good it tasted.  A word of advice, however, don’t make a sandwich with yogurt on the bread too far in advance.  It gets soggy pretty quick, but it did great at holding everything in place and tasted great too.

Also this week, I made some really yummy strawberry spinach salads with an interesting pear vinaigrette I found at the store.  One day I added pumpkin seeds (shown) for my protein, and another I added 1/4 of an avocado.  It was so good that I decided to keep the salad for next week’s detox instead of cooking the ingredients for Meal 3 (more about this tomorrow).

I got some seafood from work – scallops and lobster – so I incorporated those in my meals.  For the scallops, I cooked them in a skillet, about 5 minutes on each side with nothing but cooking spray.  Then I added them to a little brown rice and cooked cabbage, drizzled with some sweet chile sauce for a yummy lunch.  For the lobster, I baked them and drizzled them with lemon juice.  Yum!

If there’s one meal I’ve adopted into my diet most frequently, it’s yogurt parfaits – yogurt, berries, nuts, and sometimes wheat germ on top.  They are so easy to make and I’ve learned to love them.  I still don’t care for the bitterness of plain yogurt though, so I usually use either Dannon’s Vanilla Light ‘n Fit or 0% non-fat greek yogurt with a little Truvia.  I usually use strawberries, blackberries, or blueberries, and either almonds, walnuts, or pistachios for the nuts.  For the one below, it’s greek yogurt, blueberries, pistachios, wheat germ, and Truvia. 

Keeping with the yogurt and berry theme, I also love the dessert version… vanilla frozen yogurt, or light ice cream, with berries and nuts / coconut.  YUM!

Today we hosted a Memorial Day party and I was determined to keep things pretty healthy.  My husband made burgers and grilled veggies – eggplant, zucchini, squash, and mushrooms.  Then we had Guiltless Gourmet Black Bean Chips, a family favorite, with healthy homemade guacamole and salsa.  I’m well-known for my guacamole and salsa, which is funny since it’s so easy to make and good for you!  For the salsa, I start with tomatoes and onion.  For the guacamole, it’s avocados and 0% plain greek yogurt.  I use a store-bought spice pack for both, which is usually found near the tomatoes and avocados at your local grocery store.  If you don’t find it, I’m sure you can Google a spice blend recipe.  Either way, I only use 1/2 the spice pack since it’s pretty high in sodium and prefer a milder flavor anyway.  Then I add lime and cilantro for a natural burst of flavor.  

Homemade Salsa

  • 5-6 roma tomatoes or 3-4 regular
  • 1/4 to 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 a salsa spice pack, or equivalent
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Fresh cilantro, about 2 T. chopped
  • Combine all ingredients in a food processeser and blend until desired consistency.

Homemade Guacamole

  • 2 avocados
  • 1/4 cup 0% plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 guacamole spice pack, or equivalent
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Fresh Cilantro, about 2 T. chopped
  • Mash avocados and mix with other ingredients until desired consistency

… there are always opportunistic dogs nearby when clumsy Mommy is in the kitchen.

Whew!  OK, finally caught up.  Tomorrow I start detox once again to completely de-bloat before Hawaii.  Wish me luck!

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!

How to Make a Healthy Birthday Cake

Today is not only Mother’s Day, it’s also my husband’s birthday.  Thankfully, we’re both on the same page in terms of trying to eat healthy every day and not making excuses to go overboard, not even on our birthdays.  It’s one thing to splurge with a little greasy food, but sugar is a different story.  It’s unforgiving, leading immediately to bloat, guilt, and a week of insatiable sugar cravings.  So how do you make the traditional birthday cake healthy?  If there’s one aspect of healthy cooking that I’ve mastered, it’s baking.  I’ve learned tons of substitutes for the traditional sugar, oil, butter, and white flour.  Granted, it won’t always turn out exactly like a regular cake, but close enough that it’s worth the swap!

My husband loves pineapple and coconut, so I decided to make a Healthy Pina Colada Upside Down Cake.  I used Pillsbury’s Sugar Free Classic Yellow cake mix for the base.  Yes, it’s made with white flour and other artificial ingredients, but I’ve made some from scratch and this is better, and so much easier!  But if you prefer to go the natural route, you can make a regular dry cake mix, using the guidelines below for substitutes.

The recipe on the cake box calls for 1 cup water (sub pineapple juice), 1/3 cup oil (sub coconut oil and applesauce), and 3 eggs (you can sub egg whites, but I don’t see any issue with whole eggs).  In addition, you’ll need pineapple slices (no sugar added), maraschino cherries (I used no sugar added cherry pie filling), sugar substitute (Truvia works best and is closest to sugar’s consistency), another 1/3 cup of coconut oil, and about 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes.  So here’s the new, edited recipe:

Healthy Pina Colada Upside Down Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (20 oz) Pineapple Slices in juice (no added sugar)
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup Truvia or other sugar substitute
  • Maraschino cherries
  • 1 box Pillsbury Sugar Free Classic Yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup Pineapple Juice (from the 20 oz can)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Directions:

Pre-heat over to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 13 x 9 pan, or 8 10-oz individual baking dishes.  Drain the pineapple, reserving the juice.  Stir together the melted coconut oil and Truvia and pour into the pan, or divided evenly among the baking dishes.  Place the pineapple slices on top of the coconut oil & sugar mixture in the pan, or put 1 in each baking dish.  Place a cherry in the middle of each pineapple slice. 

Make the cake mix according to the package directions, subbing 1 cup pineapple juice for the water (top off with water if you’re a little short), and 1 Tbsp coconut oil + 1/3 cup applesauce for the oil.  When the ingredients are blended, stir in the coconut flakes.  Pour the cake mix gently onto your pineapple slices.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool the cake(s) and then loosen the edges with a knife.  Invert onto a cookie sheet (or small plates if making individual cakes).  Top with a dollop of whipping cream and serve.

So there you have it.  A delicious birthday cake without the guilt!  You can use these substitutes for lots of different types of cake.  What variations have you tried in your baking adventures?

Cinch Detox Do Over, Day 3

I think I’ll have to come up with new post titles after detox is over… I’m getting a little tired of the word “cinch”!  Ha ha.  I’m on day 3 and it’s flying by.  So far it’s been much easier this time around, probably because I knew what to do and prepped everything in advance.  Plus, I’ve been so busy at work that I didn’t have time to think the diet.  It’s so nice not to worry about food each day – just grab and go.

After researching a reader’s question, I discovered that Cynthia Sass has a website and it includes a Cinch Q&A.  Of course, I’ll continue to answer your questions on my blog, but I thought I’d throw that out there as an expert reference.  I actually enjoy your questions and tend to learn something each time.

Oh my… I’m eating the parfait and it is sooooooo good.  Even the fruit has tasted amazing this week – probably because I decided to add a little Truvia and it’s made a huge difference.  I’m sure the Light ‘n Fit yogurt (which contains Splenda / sucralose) helped with the Parfait, but even the plain fruit and smoothie (made with greek yogurt) tastes so much better with a little shake of Truvia.  Have you guys tried this yet?  It’s a natural plant-based sweetener derived from the Stevia plant and can be found near the sugar in your grocery store.  It’s kind of expensive (about $7 for a small canister like the one shown below), but it lasts a long time.  It’s actually much stronger than sugar, so you can just use a little bit and be satisfied.  The book discourages the use of artificial sweeteners because Cynthia believes they can induce sugar cravings.  I do not find that to be the case for me, but everyone should do what works best for them.   I actually think they curb my cravings because I feel like I’m splurging when I eat it!

Lastly, so many of you send me messages thanking me for the blog and the inspiration, but actually, you are the ones that inspire me!  Every morning I see your comments, questions, and compliments, and it just encourages me to push through another day.  This is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change!  No, we’re not going to be reading the book and copying the recipes forever, but after couple of months, our metabolisms should be improved, our palates accustomed to the taste of real food, and our cooking and eating habits transformed.  You’ll learn how to make meals with the puzzle pieces – 1) produce, 2) lean protein, 3) whole grain, 4) plant-based fat (nuts, avocado, olive / veg / coconut oil), and 5) healthy seasonings.  Hopefully you’re also trying to incorporate a little exercise into your day after Detox is over.  Cynthia is a big fan of walking!  This time of year can make that challenging, but there are lots of other indoor activities, or just find a good workout DVD and use your living room.  Please note that she does not recommend heavy exercise during Detox because of the limited calories.  If you do exercise or need a calorie boost, add an egg or serving of yogurt with breakfast.

Have a great day!